What Are Common Types Of Neglect You See In Nursing Home Abuse Cases?
Abuse of vulnerable adults can take many forms. It may involve simple neglect of the patient, or medication errors such as administering the wrong medication to the patient or improper dosages. It may involve substandard medical procedures. For example, the failure to follow established wound care protocols. It can involve ignoring reasonable patient requests or denying the patient access to family and friends, or in some cases, the intentional infliction of harm or the financial exploitation of the vulnerable patient. Patient neglect is the most common situation we see in cases involving injuries to the elderly. This can result from understaffing or inadequate staff training or some combination of the two. Bodily harm caused by violent acts by either staff or other patients is less common but it certainly exists.
What Are Common Types Of Injuries Sustained In Nursing Home Abuse Cases?
Infections caused by skin tissue breakdown are common and can be life-threatening if not identified and treated early. This comes up when bedridden patients are left in one position too long or bedding is not changed often enough. Broken bones are a result of falls. These occur when proper patient assist protocols are not followed by staff and already failed patients try to move about on their own such as use the bathroom or get out of bed or that type of activity. Depression is also common among vulnerable adults especially those who feel abandoned and uprooted from family and friends.
Who Can Potentially Be Held Liable In A Nursing Home Negligence Case?
Liability for abuse of a vulnerable adult rests primarily on the institution itself, whether that institution is a nursing facility or an adult family home or other similar types of facilities. The individual caregivers involved may also be liable for negligence involving a vulnerable adult. In Washington, a separate claim can be made against those persons identified as mandatory reporters under Washington law. Those are persons such as owners and employees of facilities, social workers, medical and nursing staff as well as others. Those persons are required to report both actual or a suspected abuse of vulnerable adults to either DSHS, which is the Department of Social & Healthcare Services or the local police. An unreasonable failure to report can result in civil liability for that person.
What Steps Should Someone Take If They Suspect They Or A Loved One Are A Victim Of Nursing Home Negligence Or Abuse?
First and foremost, the family should report suspected abuse to DSHS. That department maintains a hotline or you can report by internet access as well. That person should also report the abuse to the police department (call 911) if criminal activity is suspected. A complaint should be filed immediately with the facility’s Medical Director and the Director of Nursing. It is important to document injuries via photos as well as to identify persons involved in the care of the vulnerable adult. Order a complete copy of the patient’s medical file immediately. Finally, you should consult with an attorney experienced in representing vulnerable adults, and that should also be done immediately.
For more information on Nursing Home Abuse In Washington, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (425) 451-8333 today.
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